Kurt Angle made his return to the WWE at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday.
Angle was introduced by John Cena, who said that this return is “long overdo.” Cena also said that never again will the WWE have anyone quite like Kurt Angle, someone who is both a stellar athlete and who makes the audience laugh. He then prompted the audience to welcome home Kurt Angle.
Of course, for old time’s sake, the entire crowd chanted “You suck!” along with Kurt Angle’s theme music. This was clearly out of reverence, though, and Angle proceeded to get the largest standing ovation of anyone that night.
“It’s great to be back home,” Angle said.
Angle started off by telling a story about turning down a WWE contract offer in the 1990s, only to fall in love with the company years later and become convinced he had to become a part of it. He then gave advice to the fellow wrestlers, telling them to not be afraid to take chances with their character and make fun of themselves.
Speaking of making fun of oneself, Kurt Angle wore his classic tiny cowboy hat and his wig; he also performed a battle rap for the crowd, and the audience in Orlando, Florida could not have been more entertained by the whole thing.
Angle concluded by thanking his wife and children and chugging milk.
Kurt Angle left the WWE in August 2006. This was primarily for health reasons, with Angle saying that he could no longer work a full time schedule. He moved from World Wrestling Entertainment to Total Nonstop Action.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Angle told WrestleTalk TV. “Vince McMahon wanted me to continue to go full time, and I couldn’t do the full time anymore. I look at John Cena now, and I don’t know how he’s done it for 11 years. I did it for six and a half.”
Angle went on to say that it was key for him to be able to set his own schedule, which he was able to do at TNA.
He also said in 2016 that another part of the reason was that he was addicted to Vicodin at the time and felt like a liability for Vince McMahon.
“Before I knew it, I was knee deep (more like shoulder deep) into my addiction,” Angle wrote on his website last year. “I was hiding it from WWE, and at that time they weren’t drug testing for medication like they do now. I then broke my neck 2 more times over the next 2 years, and the bad relationship/marriage I was in made me feel more alone than ever. I decided that I could not handle the rigorous schedule of WWE and I felt guilty about being a liability to Vince McMahon. So I asked for my release and I swore I’d get my life together.”
There are now rumors that Kurt Angle may become the new general manager of Monday Night Raw.